WILL HERNANDEZ | OG | TEXAS-EL PASO
Height: 6023 | Weight: 327 | Arms: 32" | Hands: 9 7/8" | 40 Time: 5.15 | 10-Split: 1.76 | Bench: 37 | 3Cone: 7.59 | Broad: 104" | Vertical: 24"
Will Hernandez is a fifth-year Senior who has started 49 career games for the Miners. Although he has lined up predominantly at left guard, Hernandez has shown the ability to swap and play right guard on certain protection looks in the UTEP offense. Despite the Miners not winning a single game in 2017, Hernandez still earned AP Second-Team All-American honors, showing just how much he stood out. Hernandez earned PFF's 5th-highest pass blocking efficiency score (99.4) this season, on the books for only 3 total pressures (0 sacks) allowed. The Las Vegas native was actually recruited by Arizona State and USC, but struggled to become academically eligible and caused big schools to back away on the eve of signing day.
Physically, Hernandez is an absolute unit who looks like Blastoise. Boasting a bourbon barrel chest, Hernandez has average arm length and elite strength, putting up a jaw-dropping 37 reps on the bench in Indianapolis. Hernandez is a dancing bear who exhibits terrific footwork and lateral control, showing superior athleticism for someone his size. Hernandez looks like an angry hippo when pulling in space and he has the ability to accelerate suddenly and build unfair momentum in short distances. A former 3 sport athlete at Chaparral High School (wrestling and track), Hernandez also played defensive tackle and registered 8 sacks, forced 5 fumble and snagged an interception.
As a pass blocker, Hernandez wins with a concise kick slide and an expedited pass set that can adjust quickly to pick up stunts and pass off rushers to his Center or Tackle. Hernandez demonstrates outstanding recognition of blitzes and has special anchor ability against bull rushes while also showing the mirroring ability to combat quick-twitch 3-techs. As a run blocker, Hernandez keeps his feet moving and uses his rare strength to move defenders out of their gaps at will. Hernandez has worked hard to improve his hand placement this season and consistently keeps his hands inside to amplify his up-field control. Hernandez’s initial punch is targeted at the rusher’s sternum and he steadily moves his strong hands north to the collarbone and close to the neck, which demonstrably frustrates defenders. Hernandez is the definition of a mauler and plays with elite intensity and nastiness, imposing his will on defenders all the way through and even after the whistle. Hernandez can explode laterally on pulls with an impressive karaoke step that allows him to build his momentum to line up a defender and finish him. When Hernandez is out and space, he is not just looking for someone to block, he’s actually looking to decapitate someone. There really are not many glaring weaknesses to Hernandez's game and he can be a dominant NFL guard his first year in the league.
Hernandez is a character with a personality as big as his neck size. When asked in an NFL Network interview what his first post-draft purchase will be, Hernandez shared that he covets "'One of those fancy toilets that, you know, requires no toilet paper." Hernandez was recruited out of high school by current Denver Broncos Offensive Line Coach Sean Kugler, so there is certainly a possible connection there in the event the Broncos try to trade back up into the first round if Hernandez starts to slip. Following Kugler's resignation this season, Interim UTEP Coach Mike Price stated that Hernandez is "a serious guy who is serious about the game of football" and is "more mature than anyone else." Ultimately, Hernandez is a plug and play starting guard in the NFL and will be a bully as a run blocker while showing enough foot quickness to contribute in pass protection. Will Hernandez compares to Richie Incognito in both body type and style of play and can probably play either Guard spot in a Power Gap scheme.
Overall Grade: 90
Athletic Ability: 5
Play Strength: 7
Play Speed: 6
Competitive Toughness: 7
Kick Slide: 4
Pulling Ability: 4
In Space: 4
Leg Drive: 5
Hand Usage/Technique: 5
Penalty Prone: 5
Mean Streak: 5
Player Comparison: Richie Incognito
Projected Round: Mid-Round 1
For information on our grading criteria, click here.